An 1861 painting of the Lincoln family in muted black and white. Abraham and Mary Todd are seated at either end of a table. Abraham is reading from a book. One son stands behind the table, one leans on Abraham's chair, and one is seated near Mary Todd looking toward the viewer

A Historian’s Trip to the Graveyard

bardo, noun (In Tibetan Buddhism) a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death. Origin: Tibetan bár-do, from bar “interval” + do “two.”1 For someone who spends their time obsessing over history, I don’t read much historical fiction. Given… Read more →

A burly man is holding a stick of celery in one hand and a fork with a tomato on it in the other. Before him is a plate of nutritious food

Real Men & Real Food: The Cultural Politics of Male Weight Loss

When Weight Watchers first launched an online program “customized just for guys” in 2007, one of their advertisements proclaimed, “Real men don’t diet.” This counterintuitive declaration evoked the questions that animate my current research. I’m analyzing how the consumer culture constructs notions of “real men” through depictions of food and the body, particularly during moments… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Reclaiming stolen history. Salvador Dalí’s cookbook. The harmful history of “gypsy.” What to do about Charlottesville. The hippies of 1970s Soviet Union. The surprising origins of Kotex pads. How capitalism cornered authenticity. The wartime origins of farmers markets. The racism behind alien mummy hoaxes…. Read more →

More Recent Articles

Old advertisement depicting a woman seated at a table, wearing a robe and holding an infant. There is a beer on the table

The Magic Liquid that Guarantees the Life of the Infant: Breast Milk as a Superfood

“Try squirting milk on that.” I stopped keeping track of how many times someone recommended healing my newborn’s ailments with a direct application of breast milk. From the time my husband cut a nail too short to a slightly more serious case of pink eye, my friends and family had come to regard breast milk… Read more →

Book Review: Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital

America’s oldest public hospital started as a tiny, one-room infirmary in a New York City almshouse in 1736. Two hundred and eighty-one years later, it’s a sprawling hospital center complex with almost 900 beds, a massive outpatient service, dozens of adult and pediatric specialties, and medical care provided in over 200 languages. David Oshinsky narrates… Read more →

black and white photograph of a white woman holding a child in her arms, possibly asleep, and laying on a couch.

Care Gone Wrong: Bad Moms, Fake Disabilities, and Imagined Illnesses

At first, it seemed impossible that Gypsy Rose Blancharde had murdered her mother. Dee Dee appeared to be her daughter’s most outspoken advocate. She was the strong and devoted caregiver that Gypsy Rose, who appeared far younger than her 23 years and spoke in a Minnie Mouse squeak, required. Or so it seemed. Dee Dee… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news On embryos and spin. Dotchin or “opium scale”? History in a jar: the story of pickles. Police dogs and anti-black violence. Is there a link between SIDS and serotonin? Here are some handy teen sex-ed resources. If Americans love moms, why do we let… Read more →

Almost Fourteen: The Book That Stopped Me in My Research Tracks

One of the things I always warn people about before their first archival trip is just how boring historical research can be. We sit for days in silent archives, flipping through folders of papers, hoping to find little tidbits that we can build into a cohesive narrative about the past. (Thank goodness for the invention… Read more →